‘He had a great future:’ Missouri friends, family remember teen killed in Orlando drop tower fall

Missouri vigil held at Tyre Sampson’s hometown football field

Family and friends of the Missouri teen killed in Orlando held a vigil at his hometown football field on Thursday evening.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Family and friends of the Missouri teen killed in Orlando held a vigil at his hometown football field on Thursday evening.

Tyre Sampson, 14, died last Thursday while on spring break in Orlando, falling to his death after boarding the Orlando FreeFall Ride in ICON Park, which opened to the public in December 2021.

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Victoria Smith said the first time she saw Sampson on the field, she was reminded of her son Kameron, who also played on the team.

“To see another large kid on the field was refreshing for my not only my son, but myself, to see my baby has some support. So I was happy to see him out there,” Smith said. “He had a great future ahead of him. He was so amazing, so respectful, so mild-mannered.”

Her son, Kameron Smith, said Sampson was always there to help him on and off the field.

“He would help me when I was at practice. If something was wrong, he would help me with it and try to fix it. If I messed up, he would try to encourage me to do better on the next play,” Kameron Smith said.

During the vigil, Damon Cotton said his cousin left an impact on many, despite his young age.

“You can see the influence at age 14 that this young man had. We called (him) a gentle giant and he truly has the support of the community all over this area,” Cotton said.

Kareem Burns said his friend would be thankful to see how many people came to pay their respects.

“It’s positive to know so many people care about him and came out here to support him,” Burns said.


About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.